A woman is carried by the seat of her pants and the scruff of her neck to a bus by a policeman, who says: “This job is a lot of fun.” Prison guards with their name and identification tags missing, assault the women while the men are not fed for 33 hours. Russia, you say? No, Pittsburgh, U.S.A!
In a Philadelphia Operation Rescue, March 11, in Pittsburgh – the city famous for its potholes and potbelly cops – police and guards in the local Allegheny County Jail assaulted Rescuers. But the media only reported that it was costing $2,000 a week in police overtime.
The Interim spoke to Doris Grady, a longtime Pennsylvania pro-life activist, and recently, an Operation Rescue organizer. According to her, the treatment accorded the Rescuers was part of a deliberate, calculated plan to discourage further Operation Rescue efforts in Pittsburgh. Grady herself has been barred by a court order from going anywhere near an abortion clinic in the city. She also alleged that police chose a combined male and female prison – the Allegheny County Jail – instead of a female prison closer by, to take the 60 female Rescuers. Allegheny is an ancient, dangerously overcrowded prison for men with a 14-story female annex.
At the jail, according to our sources, the prison guards first removed name and number identification from their uniforms (their names and numbers). This is a criminal offence. Then they dragged the Rescuers up five flights of stairs to a gymnasium where they forced them to spend the night. Some were dragged up by the feet, but most by the arms. One woman was pulled by the hair up the steps. A certain number of the guards attempted to break wrists, fingers and knuckles while dragging the women up the stairs. Women frequently had their upper garments pulled off.
Some of the guards fondled women’s breasts. Others threatened them with sodomy and rape; and others made crude comments. One woman ended up naked, Rescuers claim, and a number of guards and male inmates saw her clearly. Another woman had an asthma attack, but was denied treatment unless she promised to co-operate. She refused.
Barbara Page, a spokesman for the local pro-life organization, said that pro-lifer, Judy Dick, had laid a charge of assault against Warden Charles Kozakiewicz for bending her fingers back almost to the point of breaking them in an attempt to get her to walk. The Warden kicked and mauled other Rescuers, she said.
To date, thirty women have filed assault charges against the guards in a class action. Another 20 are preparing to do so. The remaining ten acknowledged that they were not hurt by the guards. The women who were brutalized have had pictures taken of their injuries for their court cases.
Other outrages were committed as well. Two male guards – with the young women standing in front of them – forced the girls’ hands back to touch their private parts.
On the following day, the 64 men arrested at the same Operation Rescue were transferred to the Mayview State Hospital – a 45-minute drive from Pittsburgh. They were not fed for 33 hours! Mayview authorities rejected efforts by the Salvation Army to feed the prisoners for free! For the women Rescuers it was personal assault, and for the men it was starvation tactics, said Judy Dick. Yet the treatment they received has apparently not frightened or disheartened them. They feel no anger but feel strengthened in their resolve to carry on their efforts to save preborn babies.
Attempts have been made to charge participants in Pittsburgh Operation Rescues under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – legislation designed to get Mafia leaders behind bars.
The owners of an abortuary who claimed their business was being interfered with, have recently laid charges against Rescue organizers under RICO. Doris Grady and Judy Dick are among those named in the charges.
The abortionists believe that if they win damages against the Rescuers it will cover more than three times their court costs. But even if they are convicted by a pro-abortion judge, the Rescuers have no intention of paying. They know that RICO involves an expensive and complicated legal process and it is outrageous to charge pro-lifers under that act.
According to Pittsburgh Police Chief Ralph Pampena, one police officer is off on an indefinite leave on account of a hernia injury, caused when he strained himself carrying a Rescuer. Pampena also claimed that arresting Rescuers was costing the police department upwards of $2,000 a week. But he acknowledges that many of the police present at Rescue locations were on duty at the time.
In the meantime Pampena denies various accusations of the pro-lifers. He claims that he was unaware of a cop carrying a Rescuer by the “crotch.” He said that it was proper procedure to take females either to a male and female prison or a strictly female prison.
He defended rejecting an offer by Pittsburgh pro-lifers to provide free stretchers (to avoid personal injuries to both sides), claiming that the Pittsburgh police do not use them because they are inconvenient. Police back up buses to the sidewalk, and it would be impossible to turn the stretchers. Rescuers are limp as a matter of course, and must be carried the length of the buses and placed in the seats, he said. But why police can use stretchers in nearby Philadelphia and not in Pittsburgh, he couldn’t explain.
When asked why the police failed to read the Rescuers their rights, Pampena said that they were under no obligation to do so because they were not being “arrested” but were just being given a citation. This is like a ticket, but he couldn’t explain how going to jail was like receiving a ticket.
A violent warden
Charles Kozakiewicz has been a warden of the Allegheny County Jail for over five years. In 1986 Kozakiewicz beat up a prisoner in a cell, and in the trial that followed, was ordered by the court to pay him $5,000 in damages. Before being appointed Warden, Kozakiewicz had been employed as a guard at the Western Penitentiary, a maximum security prison near Pittsburgh. Apparently about twelve years ago Kozakiewicz detected two prisoners attempting to escape in a garbage truck. He flipped the switch on the vehicle’s compacter, killing both. Because it was impossible to prove that he did it deliberately, he escaped prosecution.
The Warden, according to a reporter contacted, is a “big, tough, no nonsense type of guy who no one would want to meet in a dark alley.” He also described the warden’s job as a difficult one in the overcrowded conditions of the Allegheny County Jail. An automatic strip-search is in effect now, said another reported, because a number of years ago lives were lost when some prisoners smuggled in guns and held guards and prisoners hostage.
Kozakiewicz denies that his guards are guilty of violence or threats to Rescuers. He also denied that any women prisoners were dragged up feet first. He claims that two guards carried Rescuers up the five flights to the gymnasium. Others who had gone limp were dragged up the five floors, and some had their sweaters and top garments pulled up around their heads, he admits. These the guards pulled down themselves.
The Pittsburgh press quoted Kozakiewicz as saying about his involvement with the Rescuers: “The only hand that he laid on any woman there was to help her up.” He claimed that it was jail policy to prevent prisoners bringing in contraband, and that therefore all prisoners were strip-searched no matter what the charges.
The warden said that a woman prisoner was pulled up by her hair but never up the stairs. He also denied that any female prisoner was exposed to view by other male inmates or male prison guards when they were being strip-searched. He said that if the prisoners had identified themselves initially they would have been promptly charged and released. He was aware of the pending charges of brutality against his guards, but he claimed that they acted properly. Warder Kozakiewicz didn’t mention that he himself has been charged. He ended up by saying: “My conscience is clear.”
Warden Kozakiewicz denied that the treatment meted out to the pro-life prisoners was an attempt to discourage further Pittsburgh Operation Rescues. He claimed that he was “physically there” for the whole proceedings and saw no wrongdoing.
Mayview Hospital houses some criminally insane, but the male Rescuers were kept in a separate wing. One Rescuer arrested, Frank Perante, is a cousin of Police Chief Pampena, but they are not on speaking terms. He was the one to suffer the trumped-up charge of assault laid by a policeman under instructions of Commander Gwen Elliot, the top police officer after 11:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh. She is a well-known pro-abortionist, indeed a former head of security at a local abortion clinic, which was described by a reporter as a well-paid moonlighting job. According to a reporter, she was publicly embarrassed recently when she was nowhere to be found, while she was supposedly on duty, when a major taxi-cab head office was robbed at gunpoint.
Perante’s arrangement was secret and kept from the rest. Under United States procedures, those arrested are supposed to be arraigned before a district attorney within six hours. They identify themselves and then are charged and released either on their own recognizance or after putting up a bond.
The Rescuers, according to Dick, would have given their names – which would have led to their release – if they had been aware that Perante had already been arraigned. But, as noted, they were deliberately not given this information and thus spent the night in jail.